The plastic value chain gathers with MEP Engerer to discuss the proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)

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On 28 June, dif­fer­ent plas­tics asso­ci­a­tions and com­pa­nies reunit­ed at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (Brus­sels) to dis­cuss with Mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (MEP) Cyrus Enger­er  the pro­posed Pack­ag­ing and Pack­ag­ing Waste Reg­u­la­tion (PPWR) and its impacts on the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the Euro­pean plas­tic indus­try. The event, which was joint­ly organ­ised,  by Plas­tics indus­try asso­ci­a­tions and host­ed by MEP Cyrus Enger­er was the occa­sion to share con­cerns and hopes about the imple­men­ta­tion of the PPWR but also to present good ini­tia­tives and prac­tices from Euro­pean indus­tries when it comes to plas­tic recy­cling and circularity.

MEP Cyrus Engerer


The event, enti­tled “The Pro­posed PPWR, Help or Hin­drance to the Euro­pean Plas­tics Industry’s sus­tain­abil­i­ty tran­si­tion”, brought togeth­er the entire plas­tic val­ue chain: Ceflex, Euro­pean Plas­tics Con­vert­ers (EuPC), Flex­i­ble Pack­ag­ing Europe, PCEP (Poly­olefin Cir­cu­lar Econ­o­my Plat­form), Plas­tics Europe, Styrenic Cir­cu­lar Solu­tions, Vinyl Plus and of course EUMEPS.

As we know, the PPWR is get­ting a lot of inter­est from all Mem­ber States and almost all parts of the econ­o­my as it will impact all types of pack­ag­ing mate­ri­als, not lim­it­ed to plas­tics – only a frac­tion of the mate­ri­als con­cerned by the reg­u­la­tion. There­fore, allow­ing the voice of the Plas­tics indus­tries to be heard by key pub­lic stake­hold­ers such as MEP Cyrus Enger­er is cru­cial to guar­an­tee the suc­cess of the Reg­u­la­tion – Reg­u­la­tion which is ful­ly sup­port­ed by EUMEPS (see here). “I decid­ed to host this event because I see the will­ing­ness of the plas­tics indus­tries to change. We should acknowl­edge the chal­lenges these indus­tries are fac­ing as well as the need for poli­cies to sup­port and incen­tivise this change” , said MEP Cyrus Enger­er in his intro­duc­tion speech.

He con­tin­ued by high­light­ing dif­fer­ent aspects of the PPWR which must be con­sid­ered by leg­is­la­tors, for instance the social aspects of the reg­u­la­tion which should ensure that a change in pack­ag­ing use would not have a neg­a­tive impact on the consumer’s super­mar­ket bill: the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the soci­ety should indeed not be for­got­ten. MEP Cyrus Enger­er also tack­led the impor­tant part Euro­pean indus­tries must play, and, as a prac­ti­cal man, how the leg­is­la­tion should make the best of two worlds to ensure a green­er future: “We will still need pack­ag­ing and we will still use plas­tics after the entry into force of this leg­is­la­tion. It is bet­ter that we have a sus­tain­able Euro­pean plas­tics indus­try rather than no indus­try at all, where we import our mate­ri­als from coun­tries which may not share my view of envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion”, he said.

To pro­vide the atten­dees with a con­crete exam­ple of his deep under­stand­ing of the chal­lenges faced by indus­tries, he remind­ed them of his extend­ed expe­ri­ence as Shad­ow Rap­por­teur of the Euro­pean Parliament’s posi­tion on Waste Ship­ment which already includes recy­cled con­tent tar­gets. “We called for such tar­gets to cre­ate a func­tion­ing mar­ket for recy­cled plas­tics, espe­cial­ly if we are not going to be able to export them”, he explained, “I am very inter­est­ed in hear­ing the per­spec­tives on recy­cled con­tent in plas­tics today”. The PPWR should ide­al­ly lead to the cre­ation of new star­tups bring­ing sus­tain­able solu­tions to meet these ambi­tious tar­gets and require­ments. “Indeed, poli­cies should not only work for big com­pa­nies but for Small and Medi­um Enter­pris­es (SMEs) as well”, he concluded.

The dis­cus­sions showed the com­mit­ment of the plas­tics indus­try to move toward recy­cla­bil­i­ty, reuse and recy­cled con­tent as well as their sup­port of many of the mea­sures pro­posed by the Com­mis­sion which was rep­re­sent­ed by Ion­nis Antonopou­los (Pol­i­cy Offi­cer at Euro­pean Com­mis­sion DG ENV). Ioan­nis Antonopou­los men­tioned that the quar­ter­ly report­ing for recy­cled con­tent tar­gets could dis­tort the inter­nal mar­ket and become an obsta­cle for packaging’s com­pli­ance with the labelling require­ment. He also men­tioned that a closed (prod­uct) loop recy­cling sys­tem should not be linked to design for recy­cling cri­te­ria or essen­tial require­ments for pack­ag­ing, but he high­light­ed that it could poten­tial­ly work as a con­di­tion for assign­ing a recy­cla­bil­i­ty per­for­mance grade to pack­ag­ing. Some con­cerns such as closed-loop top­ics were raised and heard by MEP Cyrus Enger­er. The need to move for­ward with the leg­is­la­tion is wel­comed by indus­tries even though, as point­ed out dur­ing dis­cus­sions, they also need time to adapt.

I am par­tic­u­lar­ly hap­py to hear the industry’s thoughts and sup­port for recy­cled con­tent tar­gets to cov­er all types of plas­tics pack­ag­ing. Such mea­sures can cre­ate pos­i­tive incen­tives and mar­ket sig­nals for invest­ments in new tech­nolo­gies. I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work with all actors towards an end to plas­tics waste and a more sus­tain­able Euro­pean econ­o­my”, con­clud­ed MEP Cyrus Engerer .



AuthorIngrid Morin